What are the Long Term Consequences of Traumatic Brain Injury?
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What are the Long Term Consequences of Traumatic Brain Injury?

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a severe condition that can have long-term consequences on a person’s physical, cognitive, and emotional functioning. The long-term effects of a TBI vary depending on the severity, the location of the injury in the brain, and the age and overall health of the individual.

Long-Term Consequences of a Mild TBI

Many people with a mild TBI make a full recovery within six months. Any symptoms that linger past that will normally disappear or considerably improve within a year of the injury. However, while experiencing symptoms from a mild TBI, victims can find it challenging to perform daily activities, such as work or even relaxing at home. Common symptoms include headaches, difficulty concentrating, irritability, etc., and they can worsen, or new ones may develop if victims push themselves too fast. Additionally, if they are unable to work, the added stress can exacerbate symptoms, which is why it is critical to rest and gradually get back to normal life. 

Long-Term Effects of a Moderate to Severe TBI 

A moderate to severe TBI can have lasting effects over an extensive period of time or forever. Recovery is possible, but some symptoms may never disappear. Most victims will have to adjust to a new way of life with additional challenges related to living independently, keeping a job, communicating effectively, socializing and more. For example, they may experience: 

Physical Disabilities 

Victims may suffer long-term physical symptoms, such as headaches, seizures, cranial nerve damage, loss of balance, speech problems, difficulty swallowing, paralysis, and more. Some of these effects can disappear after several years, but they can prevent victims from completing daily activities and having a normal lifestyle. 

Cognitive Issues

Long-term problems with memory, paying attention and carrying out everyday tasks, planning, goal setting, organizing, making rational decisions, etc. Because of these symptoms, victims often require the assistance of other people. 

Behavioral Challenges

Increased agitation, combativeness, irritability, stress disorders, impulsivity, and severe mood changes can impact a victim’s social life and ability to maintain relationships. 

Sensory Problems

Any damage to the brain can result in sensory problems since the brain and the spinal cord form the central nervous system. The issues will vary based on the part of the brain impacted. Still, common problems include being uncomfortable, overwhelmed, and/or distressed by exposure to normal, everyday levels of particular stimuli (e.g., bright lights, loud noises, or touch). 

As a result of the long-lasting consequences, a victim with a moderate to severe TBI will most likely have to depend on a caregiver or family member. Due to this and the various symptoms or issues a TBI causes, it can take a heavy toll mentally and may lead to fluctuating emotions and depression. 

The Long Term Cost of A Brain Injury

The lifetime medical costs and living expenses can range anywhere from $85,000 up to $4 million depending on the severity of a brain injury. Additionally, these estimates do not include losses related to wages, employee benefits, and productivity. The most devastating financial costs typically occur within the first year. For moderate to severe TBIs, the first-year averages $196,000 for immediate care and rehabilitation but even a mild brain injury will often cost an average of $15,000 for the medical care and ongoing therapy to ensure a full recovery. After hospitalization for a moderate to severe TBI, the estimated medical and non-medical expenses in the first year is a little over $151,000 for insurance, vocational rehabilitation, mandatory home modifications, etc. 

As a result, it is important for individuals with brain injuries and their families to understand the financial impact of the injury and to explore options for financial assistance, such as disability benefits, workers’ compensation, and personal injury compensation if applicable. Contact a Kentucky traumatic brain injury attorney at Bryant Law Center to explore your legal options today.